Little things I've learned while studying the Spanish language.

  • In the United States, Friday the 13th evokes feelings of anxiety in some people. In Hispanic countries, bad luck is associated with Tuesday the 13th. That is why the movie Friday the 13th was translated into Spanish as Martes 13!! There is a saying in Spanish that refers to Tuesday as being the day of bad luck: "Martes, ni te cases, ni te embarques, ni de tu casa te apartes." (On Tuesdays, don't get married, don't take a trip, and don't leave your home.)
  • El chocolate means "chocolate" as one might guess, but it's also the word for "hashish"!
  • Students in Spain are taught to write out long division in the opposite direction of students in the United States. We carry the multiplier DOWN, they carry it UP.
  • Swimming pun: This pun is based on the double play of the words "nada" and "traje". "Nada" means both the third person of the verb "nadar" (to swim) and "nothing". And "traje" can be the past tense of the verb "traer" (to bring) and also means "suit".
    • ¿No nada nada? - You are not swimming at all?
    • No traje traje. - I didn't bring [my] swimsuit.
  • Some of the terms used in chess come from a combination of Arabic and Spanish words. "Checkmate", for example, is derived from the Arabic word sheik (king) and from the Spanish word matar (to kill). That's why you say "checkmate" when the king is captured at the end of the game!
  • Some Spanish cities refer to the street level floor as planta baja (ground floor), and the first floor is the one immediately above it. Keep in mind the second floor may be the "first floor" when trying to find an address!
  • Mas vale pajaro en mano, que cien volando. (A bird in the hand is worth more than one hundred flying.)
  • ¿Y eso con que se come? - (What on earth is that?) (Literally: And what do you eat that with?) Say this when you run across something absurd or unknown.
  • Letter Y - in Spanish is called "i griega" - literally, "Greek i" - named because it's pronunciation was that of the Greek "I", not the Spanish "I".